Bajaatey Raho- celebrating the music makers of weddings
The big fat Indian wedding is growing by leaps and bound each year. Last October, it was estimated at 2.5 lakh crores i.e. $40 billion. On a given day there could be as many as 10 thousand weddings taking place in Delhi. The wedding market is growing at 25% per annum. Other than the jingle of the money, the other sound associated with weddings are faintly hoarse and brass-heavy music of the, gradually fading wedding bands.
Without wedding bands a wedding remains incomplete. But who are the musicians who are in a state of perpetual celebration on behalf of others? They stimulate the members of the baraat into frenzied dance with their dance numbers. Their duty ends at the entrance; what lies beyond is another world of luxuries with champagne, French fries, marigolds or orchids.
In the shop
Six photographers from different parts of India documented the lives of Band Parties. Raj Lalwani documented Mumbai, Sujatro Ghosh documented Kolkata, Sujata Khanna and Vinit Gupta documented Delhi, Nirvair Singh documented Punjab and Richa Bhavanam documented Bangalore.
Man on a mission
In the photographic exhibition, ‘Bajaatey Raho’ the camera turns to the men who make a wedding what it is. From north to south, west to east, it looks at their life on a different scale. Sujatro Ghosh, a student of Jamia Milia Islamia, says, “This exhibition is a mix of all cultures. This is a grant programme for excellence in photography. Given by Neel Dongre programme with Indian Photo Archive Foundation founded by Aditya Arya. We got the grant three months back and here is the result after three months of rigorous work. This is a unique project. Each of us has a different perspective to the band wallahs. The band parties in northern part of India are different from the ones in eastern part of the southern part. The band parties in Mumbai are much more colonised. So, you could say that this is a mix of all cultures.”
The band man
“This series of photographs captures the economic inequality and start distinction between their lives and those who they work for. Unsung Lives is a hope that these images offer some visibility to these unsung artists”, says Sujata Khanna.
The lonely path
Raj Lalwani describes himself as a work in progress. For him photography is a little cup of tea-brewed with time. He says, “Maybe it’s a matter of semantics. But for brass musicians in Goa, their identity testifies to the essence of their practice i.e. faith. Faith, surrounding the reverie of the local village feast and faith underlying the loss and contemplation at a funeral, mirrored in their faith towards music. Their performance is not about the theatre that seems to accompany brass players from elsewhere; it’s a silent call of longing, of remembrance of a time gone by.”